As another one of those tricky wasei-eigo words, “new half” refers to transsexual individuals and those people who identify more with the opposite gender. A new Japanese term has also established itself within the past several years to denote the same thing–男の娘, which is pronounced as otoko no ko (the usual way to say “boys”) but written with the kanji for otoko no musume (“young women-men”; musume refers to “young ladies” as in the name of the sensational idol group Morning Musume).

Thanks in large part to the prevalence of otoko no ko in popular manga, social media sites, and video games, casual crossdressing events are enjoying a relative boom of popularity in Japan, and nowhere is this phenomenon more visible than at the monthly Propaganda event held in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Best of all, there are no strings attached–everyone is welcome, from professional drag queens to adults just looking to experiment with a different way of having fun! More details after the jump.

Propaganda has been held on the last Saturday of each month since 2007. From its humble beginnings with an average attendance of 50 people, the event has grown to accommodate almost 400 people per meeting, of which nearly 70% come crossdressed. Office ladies, Gothic Lolitas, schoolgirls…you name it, and someone is sure to be dressing as it! The only thing is, the gender lines are so blurred that you’ll probably have trouble telling the men from the real ladies.

In addition, the attendees have many different motives for dressing up; for some, dressing in clothing of the opposite gender feels the most natural for them, while others see it as a chance to fulfill their cosplay dreams in an accepting haven.

Satsuki-san, Propaganda’s current organizer, has herself undergone a sex change operation within the past year. Since then she has even won fourth place in an international transsexual tournament (we unfortunately don’t have the details of that event, but are impressed nonetheless!). When asked to describe the premise behind Propaganda, she explained, “The concept is ‘liberation’. I want to create a place of cultural exchange where people of various views can be free to wear different styles of clothing and makeup.”

Here’s an energizing promotional clip of the monthly venue, along with some other images:

▼”The day everything is decided.”


▼Even the the legendary Sailor Suit Old Man is getting in on the fun.


▼The popular Saisentan Girls unit


A new book exploring the subculture has also arrived on the scene. Nao Kawamoto, the 34-year-old author of the newly published Otoko no ko (musume)-tachi: Kare (kanojo) no life histories [“Otoko no ko: His (her) Life Histories”], had the following to say regarding the phenomenon in Japan:

“Once, the places to crossdress were very limited and people with this hobby were shunned. But now thanks to Twitter and video sites on the internet, there are better opportunities to watch and share clips of men crossdressing as women. The community is now even more exciting than ever before!”

▼Nao Kawamoto’s new book with a cleverly worded title


For those interested in checking it out, the next Propaganda event will be held this Saturday (September 27) from midnight until 5am at the Christon Cafe in Shinjuku’s Oriental Wave Building. Men pay a 3,500 yen (US$32.19) admission fee and women (including crossdressing men) pay just 3,000 yen. You must also show a photo ID to gain entrance to the event.

Here’s a flier for this Saturday which will feature musical performances galore, including the debut of a male/female crossdressing idol unit:


Additional Event Information
Propaganda URL
東京都新宿区新宿5-17-13 オリエンタルウェーブ8F キリストンカフェ東京
5-17-13 Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Oriental Wave Building, 8th floor Christon Cafe Tokyo (a restaurant)

The venue is a 10-minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station or an eight-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Shinjuku Station on the Marunouchi Line.

Source/images: Yahoo! Japan News via Zaeega